Lord, Teach Us to Pray
A gust of refreshing grace came to us through a preacher from the US one Sunday. He was not only a riveting speaker, he was also funny, and had us in stitches while he hammered in only one point—a most important act of Jesus, and therefore, every Christian's.
“Lord, teach us to pray," the disciples asked Jesus.
The message, passionately delivered by someone who has made prayer his life advocacy, pushed me to ponder my own prayer life and led me to three mindset changes:
One, the disciples were witnesses to all the spectacular things Jesus did—heal all kinds of diseases; make the blind see, the lame walk; multiply fish and bread; raise the dead to life, etc. Yet they didn't ask how they, too, can do all these, instead, they asked, “Teach us how to pray.”
Our guest preacher said, "Jesus did everything, but nothing without prayer." The disciples therefore realized that Jesus did all mighty, supernatural deeds through prayer. Just as He did, man must therefore take every single thing to the Lord in prayer.
Two, the Lord's Prayer found in Luke 11:2-4 is a model, not a prayer we should learn by rote and mouth at every chance we think we need to pray.
I plead guilty to praying the Lord's Prayer when I run out of things to say (okay, too lazy or sleepy or busy to use my own words in speaking to God) and think it has fulfilled my prayer quota for the day.
Three, the Lord's Prayer is not just a bunch of holy words. It has a pattern, a strategy, a road map to communicate with God. Verse by verse, it shows us how we could relate to the Lord of all, and how we can ask His Holy spirit to lead us.
(I blogged about this sometime ago in a post entitled How Should We Pray?, but after this sermon, my thoughts have been re-structured.)
"Lord teach us to pray."
Jesus' reply is this model, which I now read, word for word (I have memorized it well since childhood; KJV, Matthew 6:9-13), and pray for the Holy Spirit to help me truly understand it:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory, for ever.
(Photos above were grabbed from the FB accounts of PVGC Chair, Ley, and Pastor Ariel, shown with his wife and our guest preacher, Don Young. Below, Adrea Bocelli sings the Lord's prayer.)